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Playing Within Facebook’s Rules

(This is a guest post by Joseph Yi)

While there are plenty of articles that discuss the advantages of running a promotion on Facebook, what few mention are the difficulties in actually getting a promotion that falls within Facebook’s promotions guidelines launched. In what can only be described as ambiguous and unclear, Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines leave sports teams in particular, scratching their heads when it comes to knowing what’s right and what’s wrong.

In particular, one of the big problems that sports teams face when trying to incorporate Facebook into a promotion is that they must not only play within Facebook’s rules, but also league rules. While creating a promotion that complies with both league and Facebook rules isn’t impossible, it can be difficult.

What You Can and Can’t Do

Looking over the most updated Facebook Promotion Guidelines (December 2009), here are a few examples of what can and cannot be done that all sports professional should take note of when thinking about launching a promotion on Facebook:

You cannot:

Condition entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as making a post on a profile or Page, status comment or photo upload.

You can:

Use a third party application to condition entry to the promotion upon a user providing content. For example, you may administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo through a third-party application to enter the contest.

You cannot:

Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your Page.

You can:

Only allow fans of your Page to access the tab that contains the third-party application for the promotion.

You cannot:

Notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.

You can:

Collect an address or email through the third-party application for the promotion in order to contact the winner by email or standard mail.

You cannot:

Instruct people (in the rules or elsewhere) to sign up for a Facebook account before they enter the promotion.

While Facebook does make some effort to try and clarify their guidelines, many of the examples that they provide actually cause more confusion. Further, based on their guidelines, it seems as though the only way to run a contest without breaking any of Facebook’s rules after getting approval is to run a promotion off a third-party application which essentially means spending more time and money into developing one.

How Sports Teams Can Make It Work

Although getting a Facebook promotion up and running may seem ‘difficult,’ it is doable. The most direct route, is to first get approval from Facebook prior to launching a promotion. Although not stated on the Facebook website, many industry professionals have come to the general consensus that in order to get the ‘okay’ from Facebook, you will have to have spent at least $10,000 in Facebook advertisements during a 12 month period. Again, this is just a general consensus and not 100% true all the time. One sports team that I spoke with told me that even though they spend well over $10,000 in advertisements, Facebook still wasn’t able to give a clear yes or no.

Another way that a sports team can incorporate Facebook into promotions is to use Facebook as a ‘launching’ pad. Using a Facebook tab or 3rd party application, teams can engage their fan base on Facebook, get their attention, and then bring them over to their official team site. A great example of this are the Los Angeles Clippers who effectively drive fans back to their official fan engagement site, myClipper Nation from their Facebook fan page.

Joseph is the Social Media & Marketing Solutions Manger at GAGA Sports & Entertainment. He has 7 years of experience working in social media and the digital space and started his first business venture as freshman in college. Prior to joining GAGA Sports & Entertainment, Joseph specialized in brand management and developed social media marketing strategies for organizations and corporate brands. At GAGA, Joseph works with professional sports teams, including the Lakers, Clippers, and San Francisco 49ers, where he develops engaging content as well as social media and digital strategies to help teams better understand and engage their fans. Additionally, he is a guest speaker and panelist at universities and social media events and has mentored several sports industry professionals regarding their social media assets.

Twitter: @Joseph_Yi

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